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Intel Ships Dual-Core Chips 340

Torrey Clark writes "Intel seems to be the first to ship a batch of dual core x86 64-bit processors to OEMs. Intel's first dual-core chip is the Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840. The new processor runs at 3.2 GHz, backs Intel's Hyper-Threading and is supported by the company's 955X Express chipsets, formerly code-named Glenwood. Dell also announced that it would be one of the first PC makers to ship Intel's new dual core Pentium Extreme." Reader wyckedone adds "AMD is set to ship their dual core Opteron processor, designed for servers, next week."
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Intel Ships Dual-Core Chips

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  • by gangofwolves ( 875288 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:11PM (#12218659)
    I want to see dual-core Pentium-Ms.

    At the rate that power consumption and heat dissipation are increasing on these chips, I consider Pentium-Ms to be the only processor worth using.
    • by RayDude ( 798709 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:41PM (#12218921)
      What I want to see is quantities.

      Is this one of those announce and only ship a teeny tiny volume to top OEMs or are these parts really going to be shipping in volume to -- for example -- New Egg.

      I guess my question is: did Intel do this announcement just to trump AMD, as they so often do, and not actually have volume silicon?

      My prediction is: These will be hard to get, and the AMD parts will be all over the world on the day they announce.

      • Saving Face (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Luthair ( 847766 )

        According to The Inqurier here [] Intel's new EE model was scheduled for next month until shortly after it was leaked AMD was releasing dual Opterons this month in NY.

        The Intel chip is in my opinion a proof of concept and will have the availability of the original P4EEs. Its also a pointless model, games aren't multi-threaded. AMD however is releasing a CPU aimed at the major multi-threaded market, high-end workstations and servers.

    • A64/Opterons (especially the HE et al) are decently efficient for power usage.
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:12PM (#12218667) Homepage Journal
    If AMD is shipping in about a week, then one wonders if it's worth paying the Intel price for dual core chips when you can just wait a week and get twice as much for the same price ...

    Mind you, it depends on the heat specs.

    • Just in case you haven't been reading any other tech sites in the last week or so...

      From ARS Technica []

      AMD plans to charge a bit less than twice the price of an equivalent single-core model for each dual-core chip. This puts the aforementioned 875 (2.2GHz 800 series) at an expected $2649 according to CNET, with prices going down from there as you go down in series and in speed grade.

      From AnandTech []

      A point we made in the first article was that Intel's pricing strategy for dual core is extremely aggres

      • by aonaran ( 15651 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:14PM (#12219197) Homepage
        That AMD 800 series chip is for 4 way and 8 way servers.

        ie 4 or 8 dual core chips for 8 or 16 processors

        That is not a fair comparison to a single chip dual core design. The 800 series is deigned to compete in the high end server arena, not the workstation arena.

        Wait till the AMD dual cores that are designed for single processor motherboards hit then compare the prices.

        • Agreed, the Pentium system from Dell is $3000 U.S. which is an absurd figure, like back in the old days!

          Opterons have trounced Itanics and Xeons even worse than the XP's Trounced the P-4s in value.

          If you need an 8 cpu system (800 series) of dual cores (minimum 10 cores max 16 cores). Then you'll pay a premium but you'll be running in house code anyway so it will be a tiny drop in the bucket.

          A question does anyone know why the low clock speeds? Marketing, Stability, Price?
  • Rush to market? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jarich ( 733129 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:12PM (#12218670) Homepage Journal
    I thought that AMD is slated to ship their dual core chip first? Is this Intel rushing something to maket?
    • Re:Rush to market? (Score:5, Informative)

      by erice ( 13380 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:19PM (#12218735) Homepage
      I think these are the "phony" dual cores. Two dice bonded together in the same package.
    • Is this Intel rushing something to maket?

      Don't worry, they just need a head-start to prepare for the massive recall (and possible liability suits, depending on how many houses burn down) when the world discoveres what it means to have 250W worth of CPU packed into a square inch of silicon.
    • Re:Rush to market? (Score:4, Informative)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:31PM (#12218842) Homepage Journal
      it has been speculated that they might just place two normal cores under one heatspreader.. can't know sure untill the reviews hit that open them up.

      also.. it could be a paper launch for most parts(paper launch= you launch the product, ship it to reviewers.. but are unable to provide the product in significant numbers to any resellers). they're getting way too popular.
    • Re:Rush to market? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Master Bait ( 115103 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:42PM (#12218924) Homepage Journal
      I thought that AMD is slated to ship their dual core chip first? Is this Intel rushing something to maket?

      That's what is known in this business as a paper launch. There aren't really any available on the open market, but Intel gets a ton of ink by announcing now.

    • Re:Rush to market? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mapmaker ( 140036 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:43PM (#12219409)
      Is this Intel rushing something to market?

      This is Intel faxing something to market. This is another one of their paper launches.

      I thought that AMD is slated to ship their dual core chip first?

      They are. This "news item" is so full of pro-Intel baloney it has to be a paid placement. AMD started shipping their dual core Opterons to OEMs a couple months ago. HP will have a dual-core Opteron server available for immediate delivery on AMD's release date of April 21. Intel wanted really badly to be first with dual core processor release, mainly because their x64 processors are such turdburgers, but they didn't do it. Rushing out a few pilot-run processors to Dell is too little, too late - there will be not be any actual computers using Intel dual core processors available on April 21. There will be dual core Opteron servers and workstations available that day. AMD is first again.

    • Re:Rush to market? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pjbass ( 144318 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @03:31AM (#12221230) Homepage
      No. If you ever read about any of the roadmaps, you'd know. Smithfield: the first dual-core processor, which is two Prescott dies welded together. No big news. Then a family at that level. Then the big one, Cedar Mill. This was designed with dual-core in mind. I won't talk about the real performance, because I'm not allowed to. But let's say Smithfield is paving the way. I know /. is a big supporter of the underdog in most cases, but really man, read the roadmaps for both companies, and you'll learn that Intel has a huge dual-core product lineup, which dates back before AMDs Opteron announcements.
      • Re:Rush to market? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Glock27 ( 446276 )
        No. If you ever read about any of the roadmaps, you'd know. Smithfield: the first dual-core processor, which is two Prescott dies welded together. No big news.

        Right. Two cores sharing a single frontside bus, my understanding is that they won't perform well, plus they dissipate more heat and have larger die size than a true dual-core solution. Further, what was the point of a dual-core gaming processor right now again?

        you'll learn that Intel has a huge dual-core product lineup, which dates back before AM

  • by mp3phish ( 747341 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:13PM (#12218678)
    Just last week we were all ment to assume that Dell (oops, I mean Intel) wasn't ready to ship dual core until Q1 of next year...

    Now all of a sudden -- out of nowhere -- they launch a surprise attack and shipped the cores early, even before AMD's announced launch date. Sounds like some VERY hefty competition for AMD. They had been claiming all along that they would be the first with dual cores an it was even used as an "excuse" for Dell to talk about starting to sell AMD chips specifically because of this feature.

    AMD had better look out! Their stock price will probably take a plunge due to this surprise announcement.
    • PC Magazine published an review [] yesterday of a Dell XPS system with a dual-core processor. The price, at $3999 is high, though that setup includes "extras" like a pair of TV tuners and a 20 inch LCD.

      They claimed it's available now (and even provide an "e-value" for it), but I was unable to find it anywhere on Dell's site.

      Bottom Line: it's fast. Real fast.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:32PM (#12218847)
      This is still a win for AMD. Intel are shipping dual-core P4EEs, which are a premium-priced gamer-geek chip.

      Gamer-geek software isn't going to be seeing the full benefit of dual-core particularly soon.

      AMD are shipping their Opteron server chips next week, while dual-core Xeon is a way off yet. Dual-core is a real win in the server market right now, as a number of major software vendors which charge for licences on a per-CPU basis have agreed to charge single-CPU licence fees for each dual core CPU. This essentially means you can pay for 4-way performance from your software at 2-way prices.

      That's the competitive advantage of dual-core right now, and Intel aren't even close. Not to mention the fact that the P4EE chips are always HIDEOUSLY expensive.

      AMD also have better multi-CPU support than Intel anyway, with Opteron scaling better to larger configurations because of design considerations. So we now have:

      Desktop/Gamer market:
      AMD64 4000+ vs P4EE dual-core. P4EE will cost you more for limited performance gains (if any) on today's software base. Maybe useful for a minority of content-creation tasks handled on specialist desktops.

      Server market:
      Dual-core Opteron vs single-core Xeon. Opteron already scales better to larger configurations and is making a nice dent in the market, and with dual-core it makes your software licences from key vendors cheaper too.

      If I was an investor in AMD I wouldn't be selling just yet on the basis of this news alone.
      • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @10:27PM (#12219727) Homepage
        I've always wondered why software companies are allowed to get away with charging more money for multi-CPU systems anyway. I mean, there's still only one copy of the software on the system, so where's the justification in charging for more than one CPU?

        Afterall, you don't have to pay twice as much to run the software on a system that has a CPU with twice the clockspeed...

        It feels like this is just another way to unjustly gouge the customer...

        • by Sleepy ( 4551 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:23AM (#12220729) Homepage
          I've always wondered why software companies are allowed to get away with charging more money for multi-CPU systems anyway. I mean, there's still only one copy of the software on the system, so where's the justification in charging for more than one CPU?

          Afterall, you don't have to pay twice as much to run the software on a system that has a CPU with twice the clockspeed...

          A good question. I've supported and tested and used per-cpu licensed software, so here's the theory:

          it's how much use you get out of the software.

          For example: If I have a render farm of 6 computers, I may have 6 licenses. (This example is OBSOLETE - most render-only licenses are free now).

          If I upgrade my hardware so i need only new workstation to do the same amount of work, I lost 5 sales units.

          So the trick is to keep sales income flat with the hardware curve.

          I'm not advocating this -- just pointing out the why behind the what.
        • Afterall, you don't have to pay twice as much to run the software on a system that has a CPU with twice the clockspeed...

          I guess you have never priced an Oracle database.
    • Sounds like some VERY hefty competition for AMD.

      Not really. The Opterons are: faster and cooler than Intel's chips.

      There was a news leak this week about Sun shipping an 8-way PCI-Express-based Opteron server later this year. With dual-core, that's basically a 16-way server with a shitload of bandwidth--in 4U.

      A 16-way server of Xeons is kind-of a joke, right now.
  • There's a bunch of interesting information about AMD's dual core offerings over at AnandTech []. Very insightful read.

    From the article. "If dual core Opterons do indeed have two memory controllers, the pincount of dual core Opterons will go up significantly - it will also make them incompatible with current sockets. AMD is all about maintaining socket compatibility so it is quite possible that they could only leave half of the memory controllers enabled, in order to offer Socket-940 dual core Opterons. AMD
  • We should be worried (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elid ( 672471 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dopi.ile.> on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:14PM (#12218689)
    about manufacturers charging per-core licenses for their software. For more info, read this [].
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:18PM (#12218723) Homepage Journal
      ...and? don't buy a dual core chip then - or buy the software from a competitor.

      dual core chips are just that - two cpu's in one packaging, if you somehow as a software manufacturer have come to the conclusion that it makes sense to sell your licenses based on number of cpu's used to run it then it makes also perfect sense that you would charge the same regardless of the cores being on different pieces of plastics or not. otherwise you could just glue the dual cpu's together with a strand of wire and call it dual core(and paint yourself yellow and run around pretending to be bananaman).
    • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:27PM (#12218802) Journal
      We should be worried about manufacturers charging per-core licenses for their software.

      Why? Double nothing still equals nothing.

      Let Larry E and the like go ahead and try to gouge his loyal cusomers even more - All the more motivation to switch to FOSS alternatives.
  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:14PM (#12218690) Homepage Journal
    ..a toast!
  • Umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vile7707 ( 470358 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:15PM (#12218698)
    The P-PEE?
  • Heatsinks (Score:3, Funny)

    by gangofwolves ( 875288 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:17PM (#12218719)
    Maybe I should invest in the heatsink business. I see a huge future in it thanks to Intel and AMD's dual core plans...
  • by redswinglinestapler ( 841060 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:18PM (#12218728)
    While the idea of dual core cpus is really cool, and will take over shortly due in part to the fact that we need something to do with all those extra transistors, I wonder why the focus of the industry is on chip multi-processors (CMP).

    While CMP processors can give us rougly the same performance of a standard SMP system (somewhat faster due to interprocessor communication and shared memory, but also slower due to a larger memory bottleneck) I don't think that a CMP system would compete with a simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) solution.

    While Intel's response to SMT (hyperthreading) has some benifits the performance of it is rather lackluster. The reason has more to do with their particular implementation. If you've read about the initial observations on SMT an 8-way SMT processor was shown to outperform a 4-way CMP processor. Now, I must note that the 8-way smt processor had more functional units then the cores in the 4-way CMP processor, but the overall area of the 8-way SMT processor would be much much smaller (far less structures need to be duplicated for SMT as opposed to CMP). For more information on this check out some of the papers at .

    What I don't understand is the insistance of the industry to use CMP first. From everything I've read, an 8-way SMT processor should take up less die space then a two way CMP processor. Even assuming that the 8 way processor contains more functional units. It kind of makes sense that a CMP processor is faster when there aren't enough threads to fully utilize a SMT processor (say only 2 or 3 threads that want full cpu usage). I guess SMT is a big chance in the model of programming and application development (I'm currently running research on the subject which is why I'm so interested in it). Is the reason to embrace CMPs simply because there's less new technology to add (they "just" have to interconnect two cores as opposed to adding the extra logic for SMT).

    Does anyone else have any other opinions regarding this matter, or any idea why no one seems to be fully embracing SMT's potential?
    • by gangofwolves ( 875288 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:22PM (#12218760)
      SMT is only needed if your execution units are having trouble remaining filled up, which was the problem with the NetBurst architecture due to the huge hits that it takes with a branch mis-prediction penalty. When a mis-predict happens the execution unit has to sit idling away and wait for the proper info to go be re-fetched. With SMT, the unit simply switches over to one of the other threads waiting in the wings which keeps the processor doing useful work instead of wasting cycles. This is why the software has to be re-written to take advantage of it so that the processor knows which threads to give priority to.

      Intel stuck SMT into the Pentium in order to balance out the some of the negative effects the go hand-in-hand with a processor that has a LONG pipeline. AMD has a much shorter pipeline (especially when compared to the new Prescott) and therefore they don't suffer much of a penalty when a mis-predict happens. Also, if I remember correctly the Athlon was already known being extremely efficient in terms of resource allocation within the processor since AMD can't afford to just dump tons of extra cache onto the chip.

      Both of these things taken together means that using up extra real estate on the die of the Athlon in order to get SMT isn't really worth it in terms of the performance it would bring. Even on the Pentium the benefits aren't all that hot and it's only in specific types of code that you see any impresive speed gains.
      • >> using up extra real estate on the die of the Athlon in order to get SMT isn't really worth it in terms of the performance it would bring. Even on the Pentium the benefits aren't all that hot and it's only in specific types of code that you see any impresive speed gains

        The real estate used is only about 5% on a P4. If you get more than 5% return in performance (as you do in many cases), then it's a win. It's really the complexity of it all that kills it for AMD - they can't afford the engineering
    • A couple of thoughts as to why CMP is favoured right now:

      * Easier to just replicate a core you've already designed then design a new bigger core. Improves time to market, reduces costs, reduces probability of implementation bugs.
      * Easier to achieve high clock rates if your core is smaller than if it's a huge monolithic SMT core - may achieve higher overall performance (at least, for a given investment in development or for current apps).
      * The manufacturers may have done their own evaluation and come to sl
    • The reason is because going from idea to silicon is BIG, BIG, BIG time & money drain. You can't just throw an engineer or two at the theoretical design and get a silicon mask for the fab. You have to take in account issues such as heat. With more functional units (and more instructions feeding those units) you will generate a LOT of heat. Then there is the question of line delay (RC). With all the extra logic (more register files or other stuff the different implementations add) you may have to dra
    • One easy exmplanation is that defect rate goes exponential with bigger die size. So multiple cores will be simpler and have bigger chance of survival than a multiplethreaded core, even if latter takes less total space.

  • I tried to look through the article, but couldn't find it... does this mean that you will have 4 "virtual cores" on one single chip now?

    I remembered a slashdot from a while back about licensing for multiple processor setups, but would this quadruple the cost even though it's a single chip!

    Though, it will be neat to see 4 CPU usage graphs in XP's task manager. :)
  • by RichiP ( 18379 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:19PM (#12218742) Homepage
    Yes, but my question is "Will it be AMD-compatible?" ^_^
  • Intel ships the chips no one is buying. How real is that?
  • Sun, HP and IBM have allready got machines ready, just waiting for launch. teron_dualcore/ []
  • by redswinglinestapler ( 841060 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:21PM (#12218757)

    I see lots of conversation comparing this generation of processor to space heaters, wisecracks about Longhorn minimum systems (that actual article was about the predicted "average", not minimum). Not much about actual multi-cores. They're an interesting direction to go.

    The current direction of single core CPUs is basically running into the most they can do with XUs, MPUs, caches, etc. Sure, you can decrease the pipeline depth below the 18FO4 that the PentiumIV supposedly has, and that can help you with serial data paths, and that makes simple XUs, MPUs, etc. faster, but the branch mispredict is still horrendous -- perhaps too high for a general purpose processor found in our PCs. The more complicated logic is possible to do, but there's only so much you can do with the data and sub-Angstrom logic.

    Beyond the geek factor, multiple cores on a single die attack the same problems as putting SMP did in the first place (plus a few race conditions that otherwise may have been very rare), allowing much less manpower to design a processor that is still much faster in the end. A single threaded application will seem slower, and that will place more burden on the developers to see the light of multiple threads. Instead of allowing an XU to munge through and deal with a single thread at a time, which may be a misuse of incredible resource (like a thread that said "go to grocery store" and the XU was a race car), multiple die have correspondingly multiple XUs each with their own resources, so hard tasks can be spread across multiple cores, or simple ones can get executed in parallel with others (like a thread can take a Kia to the grocery store while another Kia goes to the Post Office). Of course, problems that cannot be divided into multiple threads do not see the advantage of multiple cores, but other tasks remain responsive without requiring a monster task to context switch.

    I've read about multiple cores that share a single L2 outperforming multiple cores with dedicated L2s in specific tasks, basically one core essentially acts like a pre-fetch core under a workload and the second core can reap the benefits.
  • I would rather have faster processors than multiple cores, as it is not enough is multi-threaded. Even the highest end 3D apps, their render engines are SMP capable, but all geometry translation/deformation is not. That would be one core right? Unless multiple cores could show up as one single core/proc in the OS..
  • My epiphany... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by redswinglinestapler ( 841060 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:27PM (#12218801)
    Has anyone stopped to look at modern software while thinking about Dual-Core?

    Both Intel and AMD have decided upon dual-core as the future of desktop computing. There will be no more massive Mhz increases... instead the focus is now on parallel computing.... But, seriously, how many CPU intensive applications outside of the server arena take advantage of SMP?

    As someone who has ran dual-cpu workstations for years, I can personally attest to the fact that 99% of CPU heavy tasks do not make use of SMP.

    Think about it... That copy of Doom3 or Half-Life 2 that you just bought, that runs like shit on even top-of-the-line hardware, isn't going to run any better on Dual-Core, because these games are not designed to run multiple threads simultaneously. Neither do most archival programs (WinAce, WinRar, WinZip, SevenZip, etc etc). Nor do many of your encoding tools (though FlaskMPEG and GoGo-No-Coda are noteworthy exceptions).

    As a geek, I can attest that the *nix arena isn't much better. Just because the source is open and available does NOT mean that the author(s) ever considered coding CPU intensive tasks for multiple processors. And "porting" tasks from single threaded to multiple threads is NOT a simple task. This is one of the reasons that there are Computer Science degrees -- writing good SMP code isn't something you learn at technical schools (or even half the full Universities out there).

    Don't get me wrong... as someone who has ran SMP boxes for the past 10 years, I'm really excited about Dual-Core. But don't expect it to be worth a whole lot for the immediate future... as no one outside the server arena really codes for SMP.
    • Re:My epiphany... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Beolach ( 518512 )
      I see it as a chicken/egg problem. You bet your booty Doom3 & Half-Life 2 could perform significantly better on multiple CPU cores - if they were designed to. So why aren't they designed to? Because there was not a significant market for multiple-CPU-core games. Once Intel & AMD's dual core CPUs hit the market, that will likely change, and we will see games & other applications start taking advantage of multiple cores, even though in their current incarnations they don't.
      • Oh, and the other half of the chicken/egg scenario... why haven't we seen dual core CPUs previously? Because there was no demand, because most applications (other than servers) were not designed to take advantage of multiple cores.
      • Heh, there's another reason they weren't designed to - it's a pain in the proverbial buttocks. See John Carmack's old entry here [] towards the bottom about experimenting with SMP for Quake 3. We may eventually see more programs/games taking advantage of it, but as long as its a pain, it will be a slow progression....
    • As someone who has ran dual-cpu workstations for years, I can personally attest to the fact that 99% of CPU heavy tasks do not make use of SMP.

      As soneone else who has run dual-CPU for the past 5+ years and would never even consider going back, I would point out that unless you still run DOS, more than one CPU means you can run more than one CPU-hungry app at a time.

      Even when only performing a single task, overall system responsiveness goes way up. And when actually pushing both/all CPUs to their limit
    • I am surprised someone who ran smp didn't pick up on the single greatest benefit of it: Multitasking. True multitasking.

      I can play wow ( 100% proc util ), and browse thot at the same time without an issues. Actually, I do pretty much anything else as well as play WoW, and there are no slow downs.

      SMP isn't about speeding crap up, it's about making the system overall more responsive.

      Toss in a ton of ram and SCSI, and you've got a small super powered slice of heaven.
    • I'll second the chicken/egg thing. Supposedly some of the more intensive Mac apps became multithreaded because that was the only way to increase performance, and that lots of Powermacs were being sold with it. I think we could see some games take advantage of it. The reason we haven't is because there weren't a whole lot of gamers that ran dual CPU. I kind of hoped that hyperthreading would have helped push multithreaded apps, but it wasn't that much of an improvement.

      It will take a while.
    • " But, seriously, how many CPU intensive applications outside of the server arena take advantage of SMP?"

      I'd find your post interesting if not for a couple of factors:

      1.) Your video card does more for gaming than your processor does.

      2.) Do you really really really really really really think that game developers aren't going to take dual-core into mind if it makes a splash?

    • Help me out, because in all seriousness it's clear you know ten times as much as me ... right now my mac is running, uh, ps ax | wc -l = 60 threads. Would there really be no advantage to having two processors to run them on? Is it that in normal usage, speed limitations come mostly from one app wanting to use 110%, and not a bunch of apps each wanting 20-80% ?
    • Except for one thing...multitasking. I multitask a lot, so something like dual core will be a pretty big speed boost. Even gamers can take advantage of that--they can play a multiplayer game on one core, and run the server on the other core.

      Also, as for non-multitasking, the *nix world will be getting a boost from this, as far as compiling is concerned. Make has supported multithreading for a while--just use MAKEOPTS="-jN+1" (replace N+1 with the number of cores you have, plus one). It's not just for SMP--
    • Re:My epiphany... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MasterVidBoi ( 267096 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @09:02PM (#12219084)
      This observation indicates that Apple has some interesting times ahead. A critical mass of multithreaded software is something that's going to take a long time to appear (years). As another poster said, it's a chicken-and-egg problem.

      Due to their problems with Motorola 6-7 years ago, Apple was forced to go to dual CPUs for their desktop line, just for the marketing impact, even though it was mostly useless at the time. That effectively solved the chicken-and-egg problem, since almost every user who cared about performance on the mac has had dual processors for years (including developers). It also helps that Apple provides some good tools for debugging multithreaded programs.

      The quantity and quality of multithreaded desktop software available for Mac OS X today is astounding, and far beyond what is available on windows or linux (I use linux on the desktop, full time, and Mac OS X part time). This includes both third party software, and Apple's own software (including their consumer stuff. iMovie's encoding engine loves SMP). As the focus shifts to parallel software, this is going to give Apple a really big advantage as the desktop software vendors on windows/linux try to shift gears (which will take years).

      Admittedly, most of the ported games still do not use threads, or only do so for audio (as the parent poster said, retrofitting SMP support into an app is not easy. It's going to take a long time).
    • Look at the bright side, at least you'll be able to have MORE applications running without losing performance!

      Like, to rip a DVD and play HalfLife2 at the same time. Or to emerge KDE on Gentoo, and start Doom3.

      Now, before buying I'd like to see some serious benchmarks between Intel and AMD offerings.
    • But, seriously, how many CPU intensive applications outside of the server arena take advantage of SMP?

      None and all.

      The way I see it, this is how processors need to go for desktop use. Multicore that clocks down for "normal" use, but the multiple cores come into play when a burst of CPU is needed. This will address power requirements because the CPU will be clocked down much of the time, but the processor will perform when needed.

      I am not a gamer and I know nothing about the CPU requirements for games
  • by isny ( 681711 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:27PM (#12218806) Homepage
    aanndd iitt sseemmss ttoo rruunn rreeaallyy ffaasstt!! FFiirreeffooxx sseemmss ttoo rreessppoonndd rreeaallyy wweellll.... lloovvee dduuaall ccoorreess..
  • Intel is leading in chip sales because their processors are Extreme
  • I would like to see a more multi-threaded approach to game programming in general, and not all the benefits would necessarily be about performance.

    One thing that has bugged me a long time about a lot of games (this has particular relevence to multi-player games, but also single player games to some extent) is the 'game loading' screen. Or rather, the fact that during the 'loading' screen I lose all control of, and ability to interact, with the program.

    It has always seemed to me, that it should be possible
  • by redswinglinestapler ( 841060 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:38PM (#12218900)
    As already mentioned games already do make use of the GPU and the CPU so we're fairly used to some mutliprocessor concerns.

    To say that most PC games are GPU bound however is a mistake - most games I've come across (and worked on as a games core technology/graphics programmer) are CPU bound - often in the rendering pipeline trying to feed that GPU.

    Anyhow games are already becoming dual-core aware. Most if not all multiplayer games make use of threads for there network code - go dual core (or hyperthreading) and you get a performance win. Again most sound systems are multi threaded often with a streaming/decompression thread, again a win on multi core. These days streaming of all manner of data is becoming more important (our game worlds are getting huge) and so again we will be (are) making use of dual core there too.

    I personally have spent a fair amount of time performance enhancing our last couple of games (mostly for HT but the same applies to true dual core) to make sure we get the best win we can. For example on dual core machines our games do procedural texture effects on the second core that you just don't get on a single core machine and still get a 20% odd win over single core. I'm sure most software houses take this as seriously as us and do the same. It's very prudent for us to do so - the writings been on the wall about multi processors being the future of top end performance for a while now.

    At the end of the day though us games developers have little choice but to embrace multi core architectures and get the best performance we can. We always build software that pushes the hardware to the full extent of it's known limits because that's the nature of the competition.

    Just think what the next generation of consoles is going to do for the games programmers general knowledge of concurrent programming techniques. If we're not using all of the cores on our next gen XBox or PS3 then our competition will be and our games will suck in comparison.
  • Does anyone know how HT and dual cores will work? Will it appear as 4 processors (2*2) or still at only 2, but with better performance? HT is one of my favorite processor improvements of late, things just seem to run smoother with it.

    I did read TFA, but didn't see this.
  • Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @08:55PM (#12219022) Homepage Journal
    Okay, sorry about the dumb ass question here, but I can't seem to find an answer:

    Are AMD's and/or Intel's processors supposed to work in existing motherboards (err at least with SOME benefit...) or does upgrading to a dual core machine mean getting a new mobo?
  • I've got a dual-core dual Slot 1 Pentium II 400MHz server that I use for running a brace of hard drives of a file server that I'd like to upgrade to a bit faster machine, but I don't want a computer that doubles as a space heater since this is going to be 24x7. I was thinking about buying an Opteron HE, but really would rather have something with a 2 cpus. The thing about the single Opteron is there seem to be a big lack of single Opteron MB's around, epecially those with a fast-wide PCI bus.

    It seems what
  • Anyone working on dual-core GPUs? I'd think with the graphics demand + the small amount of real estate on the card, it would be a worthwhile pursuit. Easier to implement than SLI, plus you could still SLI and get 4 GPUs.
  • by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @10:03PM (#12219566)
    I cannot recall ever hearing Intel sound so desperate. First they ship pre-release samples to a handful of friendly reviewers and then they announce that they have 'shipped' the product, apparently to beat AMD's planned announcement on April 21 but the sum total of the evidence for the alleged 'shipment' seems to be a claim that they have shipped the product to Intel-friendly Dell. No one seems to actually have it to sell anywhere and even Dell just says they will be shipping 'soon.' In better days, Intel used to send a new product around to reviewers under NDA a few days before an actual release. The NDA would expire on the day of the product announcement and then you would actually be able to buy it at the time it was 'released.' How times have changed for Intel...and for AMD.
  • by Zebra_X ( 13249 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @10:12PM (#12219623)
    Before everyone gets excited about Intel's dual core - you should review some of the benchmarks at tomshardware or anandtech. The speed improvements are not that great. In fact performance in a gaming environment is not as good as their high end single core chips.

    Intel is currently pandering to the gamer/workstation market. Given the Dell XPS announcement - clearly a target is the gamer. Is it really though? Would any self respecting gamer buy a Dell as their "l33t boXor"? Would they not already know that the nVidia + ATI + AMD64 platform represents the pinnacle of performance in the gamer world? Probably. I'm not sure that dell is going to see the boost to their XPS line that they'd like from the addition of this chip. Intel does get points for getting their earlier but it's not nearly the lead that AMD took a year ago with the deployment of the AMD64 3X00+ desktop processors. The bottom line however is that if you are planning to buy a new machine and actually do a little research you'll find that the Intel chips are not as fast dual core or not - as the AMD chips.

    As far as workstation performance goes - the chip seems to hold it's own with some decent performance gains. The real issue with this chip and the architecture as a whole is memory bandwidth. For truly intensive processing tasks, video, audio, data processing, computationally intensive tasks, a fast memory bus makes a world of difference. Intel doesn't seem to have the architecture to support these types of task as well as it should. However, this may be the only area that AMD doesn't have covered well primarily due to the cost of their dual core offering. If you are looking for a workstation that can be programmed to handle multiple threads the Intel offering might be for you.

    And then there is AMD - totally ignoring the desktop market. Instead they are going after the high end server market. Why? Itanic is dead - and there is a need, and a void for high density, but "cheap" machines. The dual core AMD provides high performance, low heat and competitive performance especially in situations where high memory bandwidth is needed. It also scales 2x further than the competing Xeon servers (The 8XX series could be called the 16XX series). Since the launch of the Opteron two years ago AMD has established the proper channels to deliver these chips to customers. Sun and HP both offer servers with these chips and will also be offering the dual core chips as well.

    Pricing - which I think is most telling. AMD's products are priced at the high-end. They are the leader in 64 bit computing (Intels 64-bit approach is architecturally inferior). They will provide organizations who need this technology an upgrade path to the 64-bit world if they are not already in it. AMD chips scale better than the competing Intel technologies. Thus AMD will continue to consolidate their lead in the high end server market. Also, AMD appears confident that their customers will pay for their high end CPUs. In the workstation/gamer market Intel is trying to stoke adoption through lower prices. In some ways this is a contradiction - low priced chip in a high end segment. I'd argue it's the wrong strategy for stemming their loss of market share to AMD. Why go with an Intel dual core when you can get a dual Opteron? They are faster after all.

    Though it comes down to the fact that Intel and AMD are after different things. The Opteron platform is a high-end platform. It's clear that AMD is making it a priority. A sound strategy, as Intel's blunder with the Itanium is still continuing to cause a slip in market share. Second is the AMD64 platform which offers great performance at a reasonable price. No doubt, when dual core hits the AMD64 their will be a bit of a premium to pay - it is a sound architecture which is just starting to hit it's stride. Conversely, Intel is trying to stem the bleeding on their desktop lines - clearly they see the high end gaming and workstation segment suffering. How desperate does a company need to be to tack on "Extreme Edition"
  • by GISGEOLOGYGEEK ( 708023 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @01:57AM (#12220920)
    Read the two part review of Intel's new dual core chip at Maybe you'll put away your typical slashdot pessimism away.

    Yes, very few programs are ready for multithreading now ... but Everyone runs a few programs at once.

    They did a great multi-tasking test to compare the usability of the new dual core chip at 3.2ghz versus intel's 3.73ghz single core chip. And pointed out that Windows XP is in fact multithreaded and can benefit well on its own from a dual core chip.

    Of course the single threaded programs ran about the same as usual ... but the testers could easily flip back and forth between many different programs, each doing hard tasks, without the computer stalling or the programs going totally non-responsive, and overall more being accomplished in the same time.

    The 'real-world' usage tests showed a huge benefit to having dual core, with much smoother operations, far better than hyperthreading alone.

    Poor non-HT AMD user's like myself dream of being able to multitask that much without waiting forever when switching between active programs.

    I have no doubt that I literally could save an hour or two per day of wasted time at my job if I had a dual core processor. Two large autocad files, an ArcGIS dataset, text editors and more ... Constantly having to flip back and forth, fire up one, close another, grab a coffee while I wait.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant